The Worthing District Gang Show evolved from the 8th Worthing Group show produced by the late Dennis Hudson and a trial District Show produced by Scout District Commissioner, the late Bert Puttick, with Dennis as assistant in 1966.
In Scouting’s Diamond Jubilee Year – 1967 – the Scouts invited the Guides to join them in a combined District show and Gee, It’s A Wonderful Life was born.
Prior to 1967 Worthing had put on Scout Shows although they were not called Gang Shows. In 1951 a Ralph Reader Play was produced by Bert Puttick, proceeds from the show went towards the building of what is now the 1st Worthing Scout Headquarters. In 1957, in Scouting’s 50th year the ’50 – 50′ show was produced again by Bert Puttick, with the Chorus Master being Dennis Hudson.
The first ‘proper’ Gang Show ran at the Pavilion Theatre for four nights in October 1967. The Cubs and Brownies were involved from the outset and among the Cubs was Paul Blackman who is now following a successful career in professional Theatre.
By 1969 the show was running for six nights during October. In 1971 it was decided that the time had come to apply for the Red Scarf and be recognised among the elite of the Gang Show world. Visits from the assessment team followed during rehearsals, culminating in a visit from Mr.Gang Show himself, Ralph Reader. The Coverted Red Scarf was granted in spite of a Blackout in the film sequence and the crashing of a model Spitfire ‘piloted’ by a Cub Scout.
In 1973 it was decided to switch the period of the show to the Easter holiday. One of the items was You Don’t Need Music To Dance. This was entered in the Worthing Music Festival dance section and was awarded a cup.
The show’s success continued at the Pavilion Theatre until, in 1979, it was closed for major refurbishment. After a great deal of discussion, the business team decided to face up to the increase in costs and hire the Connaught as an alternative venue for two weeks. The fortnight-long stint was necessary because the Connaught seated half the number of the Pavilion.
In 1987 the then Chief Scout, Major General Michael Walsh, accepted an invitation to attend the show. He clearly enjoyed the show and stayed on long afterwards to meet the cast. The Chief awarded the Chief Scouts personal awards to four members of the cast.
In 1993 after 27 years came the last show produced by Dennis Hudson for in August that year after a long illness Dennis died, despite being very ill he took an active part in organising the show he even had production meetings at his bed side in hospital. Dennis is greatly missed in Worthing District.
Below you can find links to the programs of our previous shows: